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The surgeon’s ex-wife cited ‘discomfort’ and security concerns over the ‘new relationship,’ months before announcement of Trudeau separation

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Photo by Tony Caldwell/Postmedia

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When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau announced in August that they had legally separated, neither offered any explanation as to why their 18-year marriage had come to an end.

But according to allegations in a divorce claim against an Ottawa pediatric surgeon, by the time the prime minister’s breakup became international news, Grégoire Trudeau was already in another relationship.

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In the divorce petition, filed April 26, 2023, Ana Remonda alleges her former spouse, Dr. Marcos Bettolli, has “re-partnered with a high-profile individual who attracts significant media attention, and presents significant security considerations.”

That individual is not identified by name in the court documents, but it has been confirmed that Remonda’s claim refers to Grégoire Trudeau.

If her claim is accurate, it could give new context to the demise of the Trudeau marriage — and show the challenges Grégoire Trudeau, 48, faces as she tries to move on from her former life and the police protection it required.

Remonda, a 47-year-old stay-at-home mom, says she takes “no position” on her ex-husband’s personal life, but says the new relationship has created unspecified security concerns “to which the children are exposed while in their father’s care.”

She has requested a court order to ensure the privacy and protection of their two children.

“Ana had thought the parties had reached an agreement that the (children) would not interact with the new partner, but Marcos has not respected that and it has caused the (children) discomfort and anxiety,” she further claims in the application.

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Bettolli, who works at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), said in his reply to the divorce application that Remonda’s attitude toward his new relationship “is not in the children’s best interest.”

He alleges that Remonda has threatened to uproot her life in Canada and return to Argentina, where they were both born, if the relationship came to light.

“She has also, after discovering Marcos’s new relationship, accessed his personal computer files and threatened to publish intimate photos of Marcos,” he claims.

None of the allegations in the divorce file has been proved in court. The case is ongoing.

Remonda’s lawyer, Katherine Cooligan, and Bettolli’s lawyer, Gil Rumstein, both declined to comment on the case on behalf of their clients.

Grégoire Trudeau could not be reached for comment.

After the Trudeau split was announced on Aug. 2, government sources said that Grégoire Trudeau had already moved out of Rideau Cottage but intended to come to the residence often to co-parent their three children, who range in age from 16 to nine.

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The location of her new home is not publicly known but she has posted Instagram videos on mental health and gender equality that appear to have been recorded in the loft of an Ottawa condominium not far from Rideau Hall.

Unmarked vehicles with what appear to be plainclothes RCMP members inside have been seen in recent weeks outside the building, which is listed in the court documents as Bettolli’s address.

The RCMP usually provide some personal protection for former prime ministers after they leave office, when required, typically at public events or during international travel. Jean Chrétien elected to continue to receive personal protection when he stepped down in 2003; John Turner did not.

The situation with Grégoire Trudeau is unusual, however, as her former spouse remains in office and has been the subject of numerous threats. Trudeau was believed to be the intended target when a Manitoba military reservist crashed his truck through the gates of Rideau Hall in 2020.

The prime minister has been repeatedly confronted by angry protesters at public events and campaign stops. Grégoire Trudeau has been targeted, too. In 2017, the RCMP charged an Alberta woman with uttering threats against her online.

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“For security reasons and to ensure the safety of our members and of those we protect, we cannot discuss specific details of protective plans, tactics or operations” said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Kim Chamberland in an emailed response to questions about Grégoire Trudeau’s security.

The level of protection provided, Chamberland said, is based on “regular assessments of the threat environment.”

Remonda and Bettolli married in Argentina and moved to Canada in 2004. They separated in January 2020 but lived in the same home until he moved out in February 2021, after 22 years of marriage, according to the divorce records.

The divorce proceedings revolve largely around support payments and division of financial assets, including a manor home in the Rockcliffe area, valued at $2.6 million in a 2022 assessment, and three condominium units in Miami, Fla., worth a total of $1.4 million.

Bettolli, age 48, specializes in minimally invasive surgery and chest wall deformities in children.

In addition to his work at CHEO, he teaches at the University of Ottawa’s medical school.

This story first appeared on Glen McGregor’s blog, A Few Tasteful Snaps

Our website is the place for the latest breaking news, exclusive scoops, longreads and provocative commentary. Please bookmark nationalpost.com and sign up for our daily newsletter, Posted, here.

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